6 Primary Types of Blog Content with Style Guides to Boot
Do you ever have trouble coming up with blog post ideas to fill up your blog editorial calendar? Who doesn't, right? It's a struggle most B2B bloggers have. Or for that matter, any blogger.
What if you had a list of the most effective types of blog content known to build a solid base of readers, you'd use it, right? And, if you had a style guide to go along with it that could help inspire formatting and creative direction that would be pretty awesome too, right?
Now imagine feeding your blog types and style guides into your blogging calendar along with your topics, keywords, titles and publication dates, and voilà! Now you're on the path to cooking up some amazing blog content!
Types of Blogs: A Quest for the Ultimate List
I've studied a number of different resources to understand the kinds of blog articles and formats that work the best. I've looked at The 25 Basic Styles of Blogging by Rohit Bhargava of Ogilvy (which is great by the way).
I have an entire shelf filled with 3-ring binders of similar materials. There's The Ultimate Guide to Blogging by the Content Marekting Institute, The Ultimate Guide to Corporate Blogging by OpenView Labs, and many other such ebooks, guides and webinar materials. All great stuff.
But I have to admit, things didn't start clicking until I took Michael Stelzner's Blogging Fundamentals course and subsequently read his book, Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition. (Clicking that link or the book image will take you to the book page where you can read one chapter for free!)
This article is a bit of a mash-up of all that I've learned from all the resources on different types and styles of blogs I've studied, anchored by what Stelzner refers to as "The six types of primary fuel [types of blog content] that have proven effective for SocialMediaExaminer.com." At the end of the article I provide a link to a free editorial calendar you can use in combination with the types and styles to plan and pump up your blog with great content.
The 6 Primary Types of Blog Content
Here are the 6 types of “primary fuel” content used by Michael Stelzner to grow SocialMediaExaminer.com (as discussed in Launch). Each type includes a description followed by additional examples compiled for your inspiration. You’ll also notice there can be some cross-over between styles depending upon the angle or how you wish to slant the post.
Types are represented in the numbered list while Styles by the bulleted items underneath them.
1. How-To Articles
Practical articles of useful information that helps your readers solve important problems or reach new levels. It’s a good idea to make these types of posts a major staple of your blog’s editorial calendar by publishing them more frequently than the other types.
- Video – creating a video screencast, posting to YouTube and embed to your blog
- List – a numbered list of tips, how-to’s, stats, ways, examples, practices, etc.
- Contest – post a quiz on a topic and give a prize/recognition to the best response
- Feature or Series – creating an ongoing series of articles on a theme/topic
- Common Mistakes – a list of common mistakes and how to overcome them
- FAQs – answer commonly asked questions
- Best Of – a description of top rated tools, products or services
- Tips & Tricks – sharing helpful techniques or ways to do something better
- Recommended Resources – providing a list of recommended reading on a topic
- Checklist – post a checklist of items needed to accomplish some activity or goal
- Cheat Sheet – providing shortcuts to make a particular task easier to perform
- Lessons Learned – discuss a mistake and what you learned from it
Reviews with a summary and objective opinions covering books, products, services, Web sites, research, surveys, studies your reader base cares about. Reviews are an excellent way to draw, help and involve others.
- Books – give an overview and honest assessment with tips and ratings
- Surveys – conduct a survey and give the results with insights on what it means
- Polls – conduct a topical poll and share the results
- Best Of – compare and contrast a list of top tools, products or services
- Recommended Resources – similar to “best of”
- Reports, Studies or Research – overview and analysis of comprehensive materials
- Themed Article – illustrate a central theme with a book author’s viewpoint or example
3. Expert Interviews
Written, audio or video interviews with people who have expert industry or topical knowledge relevant to your reader base. These are a great source of traffic and engagement.
- Video – create at events or locations where experts, speakers, authors are present
- Guest Posts – invite experts, authors and industry leaders to post articles on your blog
- Written – record a phone or in-person interview, transcribe, edit and post
- Audio – same as “written” but posted on site or podcast as audio
- Hybrid – mix video and written, or audio and written to post on the blog
Used to examine the challenges and successes businesses and people in your industry have experienced that your readers can relate to and be inspired by. These are not
case studies of customers using your products/services. These are extremely valuable to connect with your audience and resonate with their needs and desires.
- Story Blog – tell an authentic story of how a business or person overcame something
- Inside Look – reveal how something was improved or taken to new levels
- Video Story – tell the story with your subject in a video interview format
- Photo Story – tell the story of what was to what changed in pictures with copy
- Best Of – do short stories of how a select group of subjects demonstrate value
- Tips & Tricks – do a video, audio and/or written story in a tips & tricks format
- Recommended Resources – expose on using a select group of people/products
- Lessons Learned – format a success story to cover unexpected outcomes/benefits
5. News Stories
Publish stories about the latest industry developments, trends or happenings your readers would be interested in hearing about. These types of posts should be carefully considered in order to set the proper expectations with your reader base. The challenge with publishing “news stories” is you always have to be on top of things and try to be the first. Alternatively, there are some types of news listed below that doesn’t set you up as “the news breaker.”
- Piggyback – write a commentary on a recent news story offering your unique POV
- Response – give a response to address an issue, crisis or challenge
- Breaking – be the first to break a news story, or announce something of value
- Weekly Summary – feature the top news, articles, etc. of the previous week
- Event Summary – share highlights, impressions, insights of an event you attended
- Live Blogging – post updates of a real-time event, “as it happens”
- Repost – modify and post a news release that was published via online newswire service
- Prediction – take a news story and make a prediction on how it may turn out
- Industry News – discuss current events or topics with commentary on what it means
Occasional articles that dispel or take an opposing view of commonly held beliefs and practices being talked about in your industry or about your topic. Additionally, you could take a closer look at something commonly thought to be worthless. In addition, these could be Insight Posts where you inspire or champion a particular cause, aspiration or goal you believe in and know is important to your reader base. Note: these posts should not be published too frequently. They have the potential to ignite interest, but to also alienate those you want to reach.
- Thought Leadership – share your position, idea or viewpoint on a particular topic
- Opposing Viewpoint – reveal and discuss a differing position on a topic or issue
- Awe Inspiring – posts that inspire a sense of awesomeness in a particular ideal
- Response – direct response to a challenge or crisis situation
- Compare or Contrast – discuss the differences or similarities of two concepts or terms
- Myth Busting – dispel a commonly held belief and show why it’s no longer valid
- Humor – poke some fun at yourself, a topic, your industry or share a humorous story
- Prediction – make a forecast or contradict one made by someone else
- Trouble With – discuss the “dark side” of something with an alternative viewpoint
- Different Dimension – show where the gaps are and offer a better way
- Deep Dive – take a closer look at something others regard as worthless or highly valuable
I hope this list inspires and gives direction to your blog’s editorial calendar. Using a variety of types and styles will help keep your blog fresh, interesting and engaging. Choose the styles that best suit your blogging personas’ interests and that mesh well with your expertise, aspirations and goals for blogging.
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Please leave a comment, I'd love to hear what you think of this list and what works to keep your blog calendar full.